In 2012, RealAge test results from more than 28 million people ranked America’s 50 largest metropolitan areas in order to uncover the best places to live to stay young.
While aging is inevitable, the rate of aging is not. In other words, each city’s ranking is based on a unique assessment of the healthy lifestyles, (or lack of them!) in that metropolitan area. They reviewed two dozen factors that could influence a person’s “RealAge” to reveal the best places to stay young. Lifestyle choices have the biggest impact on a city’s age. Cities with the lowest stress are basically the “youngest.” Stress, smoking, diet and exercise are the primary factors that were looked at when making the assessments. Maybe you don’t live in one of these cities but we can still learn from them. Let’s take a look at how these residents take good care of themselves, tend to have lower rates for high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. We too can adopt the healthy habits that are more common in these cities regardless of where we live. And this translates to feeling younger and happier!
And the top 10 cities are: (drumroll, please!)
1. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose
Bay area residents rank first for eating their fruits and veggies and second for eating whole grains – not a big surprise as this is the area that gave birth to the local-food movement. This area is also best in the nation for not smoking and second best for exercise. All of these factors help keep blood pressure, cholesterol and stress levels considerably healthier.
2. Salt Lake City-Ogden
This region is notable for happy marriages and second best for not smoking. Residents’ other healthy habits include taking aspirin daily and keeping an optimistic outlook both of which are good for the heart!
3. San Diego
Enjoying an ideal climate, this Southern California city is the best city for exercise (no surprise as this area is home to 80-plus golf courses and radio stations broadcast daily surf reports!).
It’s also third best for optimism and fourth best for not smoking. A sunny (haha) outlook and healthy habits help keep San Diegans’ diabetes, blood pressure and stress levels in check. Dr. Dana and Amy can attest to this as this is our hometown!
4. Minneapolis-St Paul
Residents of this vibrant city are first when it comes to eating whole grains, which helps to have the best blood pressure, too. It’s also second best for low stress and third best for adequate sleep and vitamin D – all of which make this a youthful city!
Residents of the Mile High City and its neighbor Boulder rank best in the country for optimism. They’re also third best for exercise, thanks to more than 850 miles of off-road trails for cycling, running and hiking. All of that activity helps Denver-Boulder rank as the best place to dodge cholesterol and diabetes and the second best place to find healthy blood pressure.
6. Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill
Home to academic powerhouses, such a Duke University, this area forms the famous “Research Triangle.” This helps foster a lively, optimistic and socially connected city. This area ranks third for healthy cholesterol and fifth for healthy blood pressure. It’s also fifth for strong employment levels.
Here is the home of Harvard University and the Boston Marathon, this area combines brains and brawn. Smart habits, such as exercise and eating plenty of whole grains, fruits and veggies help this Yankee region nab the second best spot for healthiest cholesterol.
8. Austin-San Marcos
Yet another college town, folks in this area can brag about the best employment rate which helps foster the lowest stress and second best optimism in the country.
Home to the nation’s power brokers, this area does have residents with a lot of stress. But they also have a pretty good diet and relatively low smoking rates. More importantly, they rank best for income and a healthy third for employment. Both provide residents solid financial resources to look after their health.
10. Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County
No, it’s not the plastic surgery that keeps these residents looking young. Instead, these Southern California residents maintain plenty of heart-healthy habits, including exercise, eating fruits and veggies, taking aspirin and not smoking. However, the test did show room for improvement – they’re angry and they have a relatively high divorce rate.
Do you live in one of these cities? If not, do you nevertheless engage in these healthy habits? Please comment below.
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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart
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